Working Retail and Customer Service during The COVID-19 pandemic

By Jonas Ward 

For everybody who continued to work during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a rough ride. Workers are potentially exposed every day they clock in. Safety measures to help protect workers have been initiated, and customers now have to abide by certain rules to continue shopping in person. 

Inside of a grocery store. Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

Gary Negroni worked at Kinney Drugs and also Aubuchon Hardware during this pandemic. In both stores, the situations are roughly the same. Negroni has had similar experiences in both stores. 

“Working under this pandemic has been mentally exhausting and something I hope to never have to do again,” Negroni said. 

I have retail experience like Negroni. When the pandemic started, I was working at a Stewart’s Shops. At first, nobody was wearing masks, and life as we know it was basically normal. Once there were active COVID-19 cases in Queensbury, the shops started mandating masks, social distancing, and building capacity. 

Now, I work in the same store as Negroni, and the pandemic has changed our place of work even more. We clean, sanitize and wear masks to help protect our customers and ourselves. Certain items fly off the shelves as fast as we can stock them. Lysol, antibacterial wipes and even certain kinds of canning supplies and birdseed are hot commodities during this pandemic. 

Apart from the unique products that are hot sellers, we occasionally have an individual who is unable to understand the mask mandate. We all know there are certain exceptions for some people, but not for the self-centered ones. 

“One negative experience I have had was telling an older gentleman to put on a mask before entering our store,” Negroni said.  “He argued with me a bit until finally complying to put one on.” 

We are all doing the best we can and what we are told when we come to work. On top of making sure we keep ourselves safe, our main priority is keeping the stores safe for our customers. We enjoy their company when they stop in, so we take certain measures to ensure that the store is well equipped with hand sanitizer at the door and extra masks on hand for people who forget their own. We do our best to stay on top of the cleaning in general.

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